Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Review] Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold is just one of those bland, lower tier fantasy fare outings that you'd expect to see in January if it weren't for a Halloween push. The good news is that it's never quite cringe-worthy, so that puts it ahead of I, Frankenstein and The Legend of Hercules, but it's also completely forgettable.

Vlad (Luke Evans) is the ruler of Transylvania, and he's a family man at war with the Turkish army, lead by Sultan Mehmed (Dominic Cooper). He's put in a predicament that involves either giving up 1,000 young soldiers (including his own son) or going into an un-winable battle. In order to cheat death, win the war, and save his people, Vlad makes a deal with a ghastly vampire (played by Charles Dance) in which Vlad will become an invincible, blood-thirsting vampire as well for three days. The catch is that he'll return to regular form only if he doesn't actually drink any blood during the spell.

Let's be real, this is kind of a dumb premise, but it does carry some decent conflict. However, the execution is so stale that it ends up being a seemingly lazy character co-opt and a revisionist origin story that is questionable at best. Everything is so shallow and uninspired. The dark and clustery battle sequences just run through the motions, and there's a couple of prolonged death scenes that the filmmakers apparently thought we'd care about. A lot of it is flat-out boring. The performances are dull, but the cast also doesn't have much to work with. It's the type of film where you'll see actors from other current and more regarded fantasy installments showing up (The Hobbit and Game of Thrones), and you might drift off and wish you were watching one of those instead.

You practically forget about Dracula Untold before the film is even over. It never really sparks any investment. There's nothing to sink your teeth into.


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